Practicing the Three Refuges
How do we face and live with life’s ever-changing flow of circumstances that can bring the unexpected loss of loved ones, sickness and injury, uncertain economic security, aging, fear, the loss of control, and the accompanying anger that can arise in response to unpredictable conditions? Our hearts and minds yearn for a way to meet these challenges.
There is a way to find peace, ease, faith, happiness, and freedom amidst all this. In Buddhist teachings, there is a training called the Three Refuges, a practice that brings solace and serenity to an aching heart and mind. Continue reading
The Way of Contentment
This has been an extended and beautiful spring season. As I sit here this morning I am aware that the morning temperature was cool at 53 degrees, the air was refreshing, sweet, a gentle breeze stirred the tree leaves which were animated and dancing, the sky was a true sky blue, bright and clear. At times like this my heart swells and I feel so grateful to be living this life. I hope you are also filled with this deep contentment. Continue reading
“I may not know my original face but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
Of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or Buddha
But I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
Cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
But I know love when I see it.”—Not Knowing, by Stephen Levine
What is real kindness? In our day and age, these words really translate as paying attention to the moment in a gentle, friendly, loving way. When we practice meditation and we take the time to bring a kind attention to the body, feeling tones (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral), the emotions, and our thoughts — that is an act of kindness. Continue reading
Wise Livelihood and Guns
Wise or Right Livelihood is the fifth factor in the Noble Eightfold Path and belongs to the virtue section of the path. It is also the second quality of the Ten Perfections, virtuous conduct. In the Buddhist teachings, it is known as morality, ethics, integrity, and Sila from the ancient Pali language. Continue reading
As this year draws to its end,
we give thanks for the gifts it brought
and how they become inlaid within
where neither time nor tide can touch them.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
At the End of the Year —John O’Donohue
Transitioning and Welcoming 2018
As we shift from the turbulence of 2017 into the promise of the new year, it can be important and significant to look back and remember all the moments of peace, ease, interconnection, strength, tenacity, and happiness we experienced. Continue reading
“When we are connected wholeheartedly with others and the world, generosity is not a matter of deciding to give; giving simply flows out of us.” —Gil Fronsdal
Gratitude Engenders Generosity
When we experience gratitude, we feel connected to ourselves, life around us, and others. There is a deep stirring in the heart and mind of thankfulness. Rather than only seeing what is missing, we see clearly what we do have and its preciousness. Continue reading
Bringing Peace to Ourselves and Our World
When I listen to or read from other Dharma teachers, there is a piece of wisdom that they frequently offer as a foundation in bringing peace to life. They inform us that, without connecting with others through our intention, behavior, and action, we remain separated, distanced, alienated, and removed. This unhappy state unfolds as the “lonely heart.” A “lonely heart” often misunderstands others’ deeds and intentions, mistaking them as harmful, aversive, angry, and biased towards us.
The Eight Worldly Winds (The Eight Vicissitudes)
From the Mungalla Sutta
This time of year in Tucson is daily filled with breezy or windy weather, which blows dust in the air, knocks over trash cans and carries them away, burns and stings eyes, and much more. It often makes a mess and causes us irritation; and, interestingly, some of us enjoy its impact, variability, spacious blowing, and unexpected outcomes.
We are all different and so how we relate to these life winds varies, as do the winds themselves.
The definition of vicissitude is “the quality or state of being changeable, mutability; natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs” or “a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance; a fluctuation of state or condition the vicissitudes of daily life; a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control; alternating change, succession.” These vicissitudes seem to be endless and out of our control; yet how we choose to respond to life’s conditions and events may be part of our path to cultivating happiness or being dragged down into a whirlwind of suffering. Continue reading